AMC’s Walking Dead rarely strays too far off the beaten path of Robert Kirkman’s comics, as the recent Season 7 finale proved with the kickoff to “All Out War.” There’s plenty of immediate ground to cover in Season 8, but might the next run bring us to another major story shift from the books? Showrunner Scott Gimple weighs in.

You’re warned of full spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 from here on out, as well as potential spoilers from the books, but readers will recognize that “All Out War” serves as a gateway to a much more seismic shift. The actual conflict lasts about twelve issues (which could fill a half-season, or a full one, depending), before the story leaps ahead approximately 2-3 years.

New hairstyles, MIA Michonne, a noticeably older Carl, uptick in agrarian aesthetic; the works. As Scott Gimple tells The Hollywood Reporter, they’re certainly thinking about that potential:

For the people who read the comics, they’re going to be expecting this. We’re doing the book, we do all sorts of variations on it, and then we do things that are inspired by it and then we change things up with a remix. But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting. And thus we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we’ll do that two to five years in real time.

I’ve had a general plan for a long time, and invariably when I do that, there are little things that catch and change that plan. But in general, I think there’s going to be a little bit more content that Robert actually refers to. There’s stuff in there that I was reading that I wondered about and when I wonder about stuff that I like, I like getting into that stuff [on the show]. We’re definitely going to honor it and do it, but we’re definitely going to have either more of it or possibly do it in a different way.

It’s also worth noting that the live-action Walking Dead might have a tougher time depicting the jump, as Chandler Riggs’ Carl has already aged to the appearance of his comic counterpart. The books took place within a much more condensed period of time than TV allows, and production can only visibly alter Georgia shooting locations so much.

Either way, it seems more likely that the war with Negan will dominate most of Season 8, leaving plenty of time to consider the possibilities thereafter. You can check out a spoilery featurette on the finale below, and stay tuned for more on The Walking Dead Season 8 beyond.

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